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Ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a very strict diet intended to induce the burning of fat in the body.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

Ketogenic Diet Overview

The ketogenic diet is a very strict diet intended to induce the burning of fat in the body. The body enters ketosis when it is unable to burn carbohydrates for fuel. The body then instead turns to torching ketones, made from breaking down fat. This state is called ketosis.

The ketogenic diet is meant to create a constant state of ketosis by severely limiting carbohydrates. (Eating as little as 100 g of carbs—the amount in two baked potatoes—will nullify a state of ketosis.)

When invented: The ketogenic diet, in one form, can be said to date back to antiquity—fasting is technically a ketogenic diet because it severely restricts carbs (along with everything else). Of course fasting is, for obvious reasons, not a long-term solution.

In the 1920s, Dr. Russell Wilder developed the ketogenic diet, a very high-fat, low-protein, carb-free diet that created a ketogenic state—a state where the body only burns fat. Dr. Wilder created the diet to treat epileptic patients.

For reasons still unknown, epileptics often see their seizures diminished or even eliminated while in ketosis. Today, the diet is still used to treat epilepsy, though variations are also used to spur weight loss in dieters.

Currently the most popular version of the ketogenic diet is the Atkins diet in its earliest stages.

Length of diet plan: There is no specific length for the ketogenic diet. Many epileptic children follow the diet for years.

Celebrity Devotees

Wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin follows a ketogenic diet. It's more common for celebs to follow the Atkins diet—a few well-known Atkins fans include Jennifer Aniston and Rachel McAdams.

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